The importance of cervical screening (commonly known as a smear test) is being stressed by doctors throughout South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw during the national Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 2019 (21 to 27 January).
Recently published data indicates that cervical screening uptake is at 20-year low, with only around 70% of eligible women accepting their invite.
Nine women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every day in the UK, with around 3,000 cases diagnosed each year, and it is the most common cancer in women under the age of 35. In Doncaster, between those aged 25 and 49, only around 72% take up their invite for a smear test.
Dr David Crichton, GP and Chair of NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Having a smear test is hugely important as early detection of any abnormalities within the cervix can lead to a better chance of successful treatment.
“Women who don’t attend their appointments are the most vulnerable in developing more serious complications. Usually there are no symptoms with cervical cancer, so it is only by having a smear test that any abnormal cells within the cervix can be found before they develop into cancer.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to urge all ladies from South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw to take up their all-important cervical screening appointment, for five minutes out of your day – it could save your life.“
All women between the ages of 25 and 64 are eligible for a free cervical screening test every three to five years. If you are aged between 25 and 49 you will receive an appointment every three years, aged between 50 and 64 every five years and if you are above 65 you will only be screened if you haven’t had a smear test since the age of 50 or have had recent abnormal tests.
Screening is usually carried out by the practice nurse at your GP clinic.
Women who have missed their cervical screening appointment are encouraged to contact their local GP to book an appointment.
To find out more about people’s personal stories in South Yorkshire and their fears, the facts and getting ready for your smear, visit fearorsmear.dbh.nhs.uk